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Managing Low Search Volume Terms in AdWords

One frustrating aspect of Google AdWords can be the ‘Low search volume’ status that Google will sometimes give to keywords with very little to no search history, worldwide over the past twelve months. They are temporarily made inactive so that they don’t trigger AdWords ads even if you try searching for the term on Google. This can be a problem for new product or brand related keywords.

Google will identify any keywords added to an adgroup with the ‘low search volume’ status and no impressions will accrue against the keyword. However, if the number of search queries for these keywords should increase, even a small amount, they’ll be reactivated and will start triggering ads to show in the results as Google’s system automatically checks and updates the status on a weekly basis.

Before the introduction of the ‘low search volume’ status, it used to be possible to target ‘long tail’ keywords. These are keywords or key phrases that are more specific and usually longer than more commonly searched for keywords, but not searched for very often. Long tail keywords get less search traffic, but usually have a higher conversion value, as they are more specific and more closely relate to the searcher’s intent.

This is often why the ‘low search volume’ status can be frustrating in AdWords and there has to be a methodology to manage them, such as the following:

  • Do nothing and wait for Google to automatically check again within a week. If more people start searching for your keyword, it’ll be reactivated. This option can be particularly helpful if a new brand, term or product is being advertised.
  • Change the keyword match to broaden it out from phrase or exact versions, as the probability for someone searching for a keyword with 5-6 words in a certain order is very low.
  • Pause the keyword. If there are a large number of low search volume keywords, pausing the ones that are generic and have a low quality score should be considered. Having a few low search volume keywords in your account doesn’t affect account performance. However, if you have a significant number of such keywords then it may affect the Quality Score of the adgroup, which in turn can affect the avg. CPC of the keywords.
  • Move the ‘low search volume’ keywords to a separate campaign. This can provide more control over them and improve overall campaign quality score.
  • Remove the keyword and use the Keyword Planner to find additional keyword ideas.

The best way to increase traffic on low search volume branded keywords is to run Display campaigns to create brand awareness. People will become aware of your product/site and start searching. This will increase search traffic for the brand terms and low search volume keywords will become active. It won’t happen immediately, but results should begin in a month or so.

If you want to know more about how we can help to improve the Quality Score and performance of your AdWords campaign, contact us now.